by Todd Beeton, Wed Mar 18, 2009 at 06:48:38 PM EDT
Last night I wrote about changes to Chris Dodd's amendment to the stimulus package as though they were out of his hands, as though it was the conference committee that watered down the language without his knowledge or consent. That's incorrect.
Dodd acknowledged his role in the change after a Treasury Department official told CNN the administration pushed for the language.
Both Dodd and the official, who asked not to be named, said it was because administration officials were afraid the government would face numerous lawsuits without the new language.
Dodd, a Democrat, told CNN's Dana Bash and Wolf Blitzer that Obama administration officials pushed for the language to an amendment designed to limit bonuses and "golden parachutes" at those companies.
"The administration had expressed reservations," Dodd said. "They asked for modifications. The alternative was losing the amendment entirely."
In addition, Senator Dodd released the following statement:
"I'm the one who has led the fight against excessive executive compensation, often over the objections of many. I did not want to make any changes to my original Senate-passed amendment but I did so at the request of Administration officials, who gave us no indication that this was in any way related to AIG. Let me be clear - I was completely unaware of these AIG bonuses until I learned of them last week.
"Reports that I changed my position on this issue are simply untrue. I answered a question by CNN last night regarding whether or not a specific date was aimed at protecting AIG. When I saw that my comments had been misconstrued, I felt it was important to set the record straight - that this had nothing to do with AIG.
"Fortunately, we wrote this amendment in a way that allows the Treasury Department to go back and review these bonus contracts and seek to recover the money for taxpayers. Again, I have led the fight to curb excessive executive compensation, and will continue to do so."
He told CNN that staff level Treasury officials were in touch with his office about changing the language and that he spoke with no top level official but everyone acknowledges that it was the administration that demanded the language be changed. The fact that Dodd was a part of that revision process is going to make it a lot more difficult for him to distance himself from this AIG bonus debacle, which in turn will make his campaign for re-election all the more difficult as well. Looks like the administration by forcing his hand to water down his amendment really fucked Dodd on this one.